Manual WordPress Installation Guide

working-with-wordpressWordPress was originally developed by Michael Valdrigh to be a free and open source application for blogging. It has since become a dynamic publishing tool for managing website content using nothing more than a web browser. In fact, it is the most widely used web content management system (CMS) in the entire world. The reason for this is that WordPress has an intuitive and easy to use interface that makes publishing quite easy, even for a novice computer user. WordPress also boasts a large community of developers that have created a multitude of templates and plugins to augment and enhance the default WordPress system to suit many needs.

But before you can leverage the power of WordPress, you have to install it first. If you haven’t installed WordPress before, it can be a bit confusing at first. But these simple steps should help get you up and running in no time. The detailed instructions to download and install the WordPress software are detailed below.

STEP 1: Download and Extract

To begin, download the WordPress package from and unzip it. The extracted archive will output a folder, called “wordpress”, in the same directory where it was downloaded. That folder will contain all of the software needed to install the WordPress system. Later, you will upload the entire contents of this folder to a remote web host server where you can then make the WordPress system available whatever audience you choose.

STEP 2: Create the Database and User

WordPress requires a database to run. Depending on your hosting situation, the creation or configuration of a database will vary. In some cases, a WordPress database is already available with database credentials provided by the web host. Some hosts even have automated applications that install software for you. If your hosting provider does not provide this, a database will need to be manually created. For the purpose of these instructions, we will illustrate how to use phpMyAdmin to create a WordPress database since myPhpAdmin is one of the most widely used MySQL clients. You will need to make a note of the database name, user name and password that you create in this step to complete the installation.

Open phpMyAdmin and click on the Databases tab. Enter a name for your new database right below where it says “Create Database”, then click the “Create” button that appears to the right of that. After the resulting page refresh, click the Privileges tab. Then scroll down to the New section and click the “Add user account” link. On the next page you create the user account for the WordPress system to access and write to your database. In the user name field, enter a unique user name with a minimum of 6 characters. In the host name field enter the percent symbol (%). For the password you can either click the generate button to create a random password or manually enter a password. We recommend that you create a random password. Remember that this password is case sensitive when you copy the password in your notes.

If you only have one database available and it is already in use, you can still install WordPress. But you have to make sure that there is a distinctive prefix for your WordPress database tables to avoid over-writing any existing database tables. Keep this in mind for later steps if this applies to you.

STEP 3: Set Up the Config File

This step is optional, but recommended for security reasons. You can perform the same function by skipping to the next step and entering your database credentials in the browser. But by doing this manually, you enter your sensitive database information offline directly into the wp-config.php file, leaving nothing to chance.

Locate the file wp-config-sample.php in the directory where you extracted the WordPress archive file in Step 1. Copy that file and rename the copy wp-config.php. Now open the renamed file in a text editor, like Notepad. Enter the required database information that you created in Step 2 in the section of the file labeled MySQL settings. These are the database name, user name, database password, and host name. If the database you are installing WordPress on already has data, enter a custom database table prefix (such as “wp2342_”) in the WordPress Database Table prefix section. Some do this anyway as a precautionary measure for added database security. Lastly, you need to enter your secret keys under the section labeled Authentication Unique Keys and Salts. Those can be generated here. Now you are ready to move on to the next step.

STEP 4: Upload the Files

Now it’s time to decide where on your web site you want WordPress to appear. In most cases this will be the root directory of your web site so WordPress can serve as the content management system for an entire site. However, in some instance WordPress is installed in a subdirectory of a web site (such as so that it can serve as separate component to the main website. Choose where is most appropriate for your situation then, upload all the WordPress files to the location of your choosing on your web host server using FTP or SFTP.

STEP 5: Run the Installation Script

Open a web browser and navigate to the location where you installed WordPress. This location may vary depending on whether your WordPress files are located in the root directory of your web site or in a child directory. Once you open the location where WordPress was uploaded, the automated WordPress installation script will initiate. If you skipped Step 3, you will need to first enter the database information that you created in Step 2 before you can proceed. Otherwise, all the field will already be populated and you can simply click the Submit button to move to the last step in the installation script. If you receive an error, see the last section. If you do not receive error, then your database connection was correctly configured and you can enter the b to finish setting up your new WordPress installation. These details are the site name and the administrator account information needed for managing content using the WordPress system.

Installation Troubleshooting

Should you get a database error while running the install script, go back and take a closer look at Step 2 and Step 3. Make sure that your database and database user account were setup correctly in Step 2. If everything looks good there, verify that you have entered all the correct database information in the wp-config.php file in Step 3 (in the Installation in Step 5 if you skipped Step 3). If you don’t see any issues there, make sure that the database server is working. Your problem will be one of those three issues.

Once all this is done, the WordPress installation process is complete!

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